Will Fowell, Talieha Nebauer and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker died after the Barrett Centre closed in 2014. (Supplied)
Will Fowell, Talieha Nebauer and Caitlin Wilkinson Whiticker died after the Barrett Centre closed in 2014. (Supplied)

Barrett inquiry: How seven depts have failed to respond

THE inquiry into the closure of a mental health facility has been told the Queensland Government emails the inquiry has requested might not be available until after the commission is scheduled to finish.

Seven government departments have not submitted numerous documents to the Barrett Adolescent Centre Commission of Inquiry eight weeks after they were requested.

The inquiry aims to investigate the Newman government's closure of the state's only long-term residential mental health facility for adolescents at risk of suicide.

It will also look into the subsequent deaths of three teenagers, Talieha Nebauer, Will Fowell  and Caitlin Wilkinson-Whiticker,  who were classified as high risk.

Commissioner Margaret Wilson said it was unsatisfactory that the archived government emails would not be available sooner, particularly as the process began in February.

Although the commission requested the documents and emails when it began in September, lawyer Elizabeth Wilson  said it would take until February 2016 to get the necessary emails.

The inquiry is set to finish on January 14, 2016.

Ms Wilson said there were serious problems with de-archiving emails.

Counsel-assisting Paul Freeburn  said the departments had also not delivered numerous documents, including Cabinet documents, despite multiple extension requests being granted.

Ms Wilson said lawyers would be checking 109,000 documents on Thursday and Friday.

Some people require the documents to complete their statements, including Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg, who was Health Minister when the centre was closed.

Mr Freeburn said the largest number of relevant documents would come from Queensland Health and the Education and Training Department.

Commissioner Wilson said she was not satisfied with Ms Wilson's explanations and the inquiry had a very strictly limited timeframe.

She ordered a plan with a timeline of when departments would be able to comply with the commission's requests be formulated before the next hearing on November 19.

Commissioner Wilson said affidavits from directors-general would need to be submitted if the compliance dates were expected to go past November 27.

The commission will also make recommendations for high-risk teenagers' future care and the provision of mental health services for Queensland adolescents.

- APN NEWSDESK



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